Toxicity

Toxicity symptoms occur rapidly, but may be delayed for hours and include altered conscious state, drowsiness and unconsciousness, which are dose-dependent. Symptoms reported in other studies include epigastric burning, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, muscular weakness, delirium and convulsions.

The acute oral LD50 dose of 1,8-cineole in rats is 2.48 g/kg and the dermal LD50 dose in rabbits is >5 g/kg.

Fatal poisoning has occurred in children after accidental ingestion of whole or diluted eucalyptus oil in amounts ranging from 2 to 10 ml_. Tibballs (1995) reported 109 children who were admitted to hospital for eucalyptus oil poisoning in an 11 - Eucalyptus 386

year period; 27 had been accidentally poisoned when an adult administered the oil

orally by mistake and most of the remaining 82 children had ingested the oil from a vapouriser. Another review of 41 cases of eucalyptus oil poisoning (Webb & Pitt 1993) indicated that 80% were asymptomatic. There was no relationship between the amount of oil ingested and the presence and severity of symptoms.

The Victorian Poisons Information Centre (see Appendix 3) recommends all patients who ingest >1 mL of eucalyptus oil be assessed in an emergency department. The Centre attributes the toxicity to the cineole, terpene and phellan-drene content and indicates that although hydrocyanic acid is only present in small amounts it may be responsible for most of the toxicity.

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